Tuesday, December 22, 2020

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Hockey for a 2020 Story

To say 2020 has been a difficult year is understatement of the highest degree.  It seems every piece of news these days is bad news of one sort or another.  You hope the misfortune doesn’t make its way to you or your loved ones.  It turns out I didn’t quite make it to the end of the year without suffering the 2020 curse.

I have cancer.

I’m hardly unique.  Many – too many – live with this diagnosis, and more will receive the unwelcome news as time passes.  But everyone’s experience is different.  My journey on this road started with my annual physical last September, during which I described some symptoms to my primary care physician.  That was the first step on a journey no one hopes to take.  Since that meeting, I have consulted with specialists.  I have been tested, poked, prodded, probed.  My arms feel like pin cushions from all the IV’s and infusions; I have had more images of my innards taken than I have in my entire life before this started.  I became acquainted with acronyms – CT, MRI, PET—and multi-syllabic terms that sprain the tongue when pronounced.  I have spent a lot more time in online patient portals looking at test results than I have perusing hockey statistics. 

The diagnosing, testing, and staging process is being fine tuned.  Chemotherapy is starting, radiation therapy will follow, and then we’ll see where we are.  When life decides to intervene, it doesn’t screw around.  But I have a whole battalion of health care professionals helping me and a plan that is coming into focus.  I thank my lucky stars that such resources are available to me.  Too many of us do not have those blessings (here endeth the political rant).  And frankly, at the moment I feel kind of lucky.  I do not have to feel the pain and discomfort, isolation, and confinement that those who suffer from COVID and their families have to deal with.  I still get around (within the limitations of COVID guidance) and, for the most part, feel pretty good.

Which brings me to what I do in this space.  I’ve always looked at writing about hockey as therapeutic.  It was not my day job, which was an entirely different sort of animal.  But writing about the Caps, and sparring with Fearless and Cheerless provide a respite from the daily grind.  That it might entertain or inform those of you who read it is an added bonus, and the kind comments over the years have been deeply appreciated.

What that means is I have no plans to go anywhere.  Hockey being in a dormant state of affairs, there hasn’t been a lot to write about, but rest assured, when we get the itch to do so, we will scratch it as much as we can, either in this space or over at Japers' Rink.  This ain’t no speed bump I’m dealing with, but it isn’t an impenetrable barrier to doing what it is we love to do, either.  We've been writing in this space for 15 years (already?!) and wouldn't mind doing it for 15 more.

So, thanks for indulging this little detour from hockey.  It is not my intent to return to this subject, at least until I am pronounced cancer-free, but I never intended to be in this situation, either.  Folks in their own situations in need of an ear to bend or just to unload can always feel free to get in touch. 

In the meantime, we’ll soon be cheering (if only from in front of our televisions or streaming devices) the Caps as they pursue the Stanley Cup once more, and I look forward to another Cup celebration in Washington next summer, one that we all hope does not require social distancing or masks.  I can’t wait.

On with the hockey! LET’S GO CAPS!!